Suicide is the number one exit strategy for troubled gay teens. It was nearly mine. Looking back, I know what - and who - saved my life.
EARLIER THIS year, I saw a play called Gutted. Twice. And were it not for the burdensome intrusion of work, I'd have seen it a third time. Maybe more. This awesomely hypnotic piece of theatre (about four London Irish brothers facing up to the abuse wrought on them by their now deceased father) starred Louise Jameson, who in 1977 happened to play Leela in Doctor Who. A series of unlikely coincidences - about which I won't bore you - opened up the possibility of meeting Ms. Jameson in the flesh, which led me to think about what I'd actually say to this accomplished actress, for whom Doctor Who was just one small part of her career. Perhaps, "Ms Jameson, I'd just like you to know - it's not a big deal or anything - but you saved my life..."
|Perth, Western Australia.|
|ABC ident 1991.|
Looking back, I can see that those repeats saved me. You might say, "It's just a T.V. show", but it was a drowning man's life raft. When faced with extreme trauma, some of us adapt and conform (my brothers and sister did), and some of us find a temporary escape. Some of us seek out the ultimate exit strategy. Doctor Who was my escape, without it I'd have gone under, just one more gay kid for whom suicide was the only way out. Instead, I found a wonderful fantasy world I could retreat into, and right there on T.V., a character I could truly relate to, Louise Jameson's powerful outsider Leela.
So, Louise Jameson, in the unlikely event you ever read this, I'd like to say thank you for being amazing, in 1977, in 1990, and again in 2013. When you were Leela, you saved this queer kid's life.